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All three iPhone 12 (2020) models now rumored for 5G, but...

Yes, totally, absolutely. It's ridiculous we're talking about the iPhone 12 when Apple hasn't even announced the iPhone 11 yet but… Supply chain exfiltrator extraordinaire Kuo Ming-Chi is back, back again with a new set of 5G rumors and… I have questions.

I talk about all this in the video above. Hit play!

They focus on 5G, which is the hottest cellular networking technology since… you guessed it, 4G. And not the fake AT&T kind. The real kind. And with them, Kuo allows him to correct… himself?

See, here's the deal. Kuo previously, said only two of the 2020 iPhones would have 5G, presumably the regular and Max models, while the third remained on LTE, presumably the R. From MacRumors

We expect that the new 2H20 iPhone lines will include the high-end 6.7-inch and 5.4-inch OLED iPhone models and the low-end 6.1-inch OLED iPhone. The 6.7-inch and 5.4-inch OLED iPhone models will likely support 5G.

Now he's saying all three will be 5G. Which fine, good, great. But what he's saying, at least as reported by MacRumors, is a little harder for me at least to understand.

We now believe that all three new 2H20 iPhone models will support 5G for the following reasons. (1) Apple has more resource for developing the 5G iPhone after the acquisition of Intel baseband business.

Now, maybe I'm dense, maybe it's this heatwave, but I'm having trouble figuring out how Apple closing a deal last week for Intel's modem business will give them more bandwidth to include more Qualcomm 5G modems into next year's iPhones.

Sure, they're getting over 2000 new engineers, and they'll all be well and truly onboarded by then, but if there was a plan to leave the 2020 R without 5G was it really just because there weren't enough hands to push thin modems up into those thin chassis?

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Again, I may be missing something super obvious, barely an insight here. But that sounds a lot like the mythical person month to me. If any of you way smarter than me people have any ideas about what this all could mean, please do me a solid and drop them in the comments.

(2) We expect that the prices of 5G Android smartphones will decline to $249-349 USD in 2H20. (The second half of 2020)

Kuo believes those phones will be limited to Sub-6GHz, though, which is currently the less impressively fast, more mundane, but also much farther reaching non-city flavor of 5G, and not mmWave, which is the faster, more audacious, but requires a mini-tower or several on basically every city block flavor of 5G.

He seems uncertain, or at least the language used makes me uncertain, if Apple would limit the 2020 R to sub-6G to lower costs for markets like China, or include sub-6G and mmWave to better appeal to the U.S. market. Or both, because, I guess, FOMO YOLO.

The competitive market makes more sense to me as a driver, though Kuo adds one more reason.

Boosting 5G developments could benefit Apple's AR ecosystem.

It's unclear if by ecosystem Kuo is including the AR glasses, long rumored to be Apple's next new product category. Either way, if you want to get AR off of Wi-Fi and out into the world, super-fast, super ubiquitous, super low latency 5G is certainly a huge bonus.

You know, when 5G is actually ubiquitous in a couple to few years from now.

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Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

4 Comments
  • It's not really ridiculous to be talking about the iphone 12, considering all the leaks of the 11 are blah and ho hum. If it's the true design, it's 1. terrible, and 2 not worth the money to upgrade to the 11 from the 8 onwards. Anyone on the fence, should absolutely wait until 2020 to upgrade their iphones. All the information I have read and seen is something cobbled together to try to keep up with all the awesome android hardware offerings out there. It has failed even before it is released. No 5g, still subpar camera design, ugly notch, no print scanner in screen, etc. All of which has been rumored to be addressed in the 2020 design.
  • To leave the iPhone "R" model without 5G capability would not be out of the ordinary for Apple. It is first and foremost a cheaper, compromised device with lower specs than the flagship iPhone models. Today's iPhone XR has a bigger, yet much lower resolution, LCD screen, not an OLED screen. The fact that it is bigger than the XS is the only mitigating factor. Everything else in the device is lower-spec than the XS or XS-Max, and that includes its cellular networking capability. It does not get much press, but the XR is not capable of accessing LTE+, LTE-Advanced, or whatever you want to call it, with carrier aggregation, MIMO, 256 QAM and the other capabilities that the carriers have rolled out over the past couple of years to make their LTE networks faster. Every Android phone includes these capabilities but the iPhone XR does not, while the XS and XS-Plus do. Apple always leaves out some critical function of a cheaper model device, so leaving out 5G for the R model would not be unusual at all.
  • I’m not sure you are responding to me, but none of the 2019 iPhones are slated to have 5g technologies in them.
  • OMG! Stop with the 5G BS already. Other than to say "I have 5G" it is, and will be, of little to no value for several years AT LEAST. Keep the janky, glitchy, battery-hogging, virtually useless 5G modems out of my phones until the standard is actually completed, the modems are as energy efficient as the existing 4G modems, and there is 70 coverage of the population by 5G. I have no desire to pay a single penny more or experience 1 second less battery time for a half-baked, barely beginning to be rolled out cellular tech that provides speeds I have no use for yet